What happens in the ring on Raw is normally scripted, but on Monday night, WWE superstar and universal champion Roman Reigns disclosed his very real fight with leukemia. Roman even broke character in telling the audience about his disease.
“The reality is my real name is Joe, and I’ve been living with leukemia for 11 years, and unfortunately it’s back,” Roman said. “Because the leukemia is back, I cannot fulfill my role. I can’t be that fighting champion. And I’m going to have to relinquish the universal championship.”
Roman, whose real name is Leati Joseph Anoa’i, was first diagnosed with leukemia when he was 22 years old. It went into remission, but now that it has returned, he said he wants to go home to focus on his health and family.
He wanted to make one thing very clear, though. “By no means is this a retirement speech,” Roman said. “Because after I’m done whooping leukemia’s ass once again, I’m coming back home.”
You’re in our thoughts & prayers Joe. You are our Superman! Forever and always! You have an army people standing behind you ready to support and fight with you!💛N
— Nikki & Brie (@BellaTwins) October 23, 2018
‘Courage – strength in the face of pain or grief.’ You have given us your everything including a courageously vulnerable moment. We, your WWE family, give you all of our love and support. #ThankYouRoman #NeverGiveUp
— John Cena (@JohnCena) October 23, 2018
Fans gave Roman the sendoff he deserved. Roman left the ring to chants of, “Thank you, Roman.”
WWE Raw airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on USA.
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